After three rather pointless days in Bangkok, the 6-Red World Championship has finally finished the round-robin stage.
Two-thirds of the original 48-man field have made it through to the first knockout round and there were minimal casualties from the eight groups.
The invitational event was made up of a mixture of top 16 players, seasoned professionals, rookies and amateurs to give a generally balanced flavour to proceedings.
However, the round-robin format was a thoroughly boring way to introduce the tournament and it was clear from the outset that, predominantly, the expected contenders were going to advance – which proved to be the case.
So, let’s forget about most of that and look forward to the rest of the event in which only six reds are used instead of the traditional fifteen.
The four former winners are still in the field as Ricky Walden, Jimmy White, Mark Selby and defending champion Mark Davis are hoping to add to their success in the format.
Davis, who also previously won a different Six-Reds World Championship prior to this, takes on Thailand’s own Dechawat Poomjaeng while the ‘Whirlwind’ has in-form Englishman Gary Wilson for company.
Selby is involved in one of the ties of the round as he faces Scotland’s Stephen Maguire while Walden, who won the trophy for in its inaugural year in 2008, takes on surprise package Laxman Ramat of India.
Two Irishmen were in the draw and both have been able to progress unscathed so far.
Ken Doherty won four out of his five league matches to earn a last 32 clash with home favourite Noppon Saengkham while Irish amateur Robert Murphy will fancy his chances against Welshman Andrew Pagett – a player Mark Williams once joked was the worst ever to qualify for the Crucible.
In total, there are six Thai players still vying for glory on home turf with James Wattana, who has historically enjoyed a good record in his homeland, Thepchaiya Un-Nooh, Ratchayothin Yotharuck and Issara Kachaiwong all still in with a chance.
The favourites appear to be world no.1 Neil Robertson and four-time world champion John Higgins having both reached this far with five wins and zero losses to their credit.
English duo Andrew Higginson and Robert Milkins enjoyed similar records but nothing is guaranteed in such short matchplay.
Legend Steve Davis also qualified along with fellow oldie White, and must take on young hotshot Judd Trump for a place in the last 16.
The full draw can be viewed by clicking here.